Media: Mirror of Society
Everywhere in the world, society keeps evolving and changing. The thoughts, mindsets, and ideas of cultures all over the world are constantly changing due to the influences of what they see. The media has always had a role in the construction of an individual’s body image and ideal self. In the article “How does the media influence our thoughts on body image?” Kayhan, Baig, Mehmi and Basra argue that during the early 20th century the ideal, beautiful woman was 5’4 tall and about 140 pounds with a small mid-section; yet, for some if not most women, in order to achieve a small waist they would be put into a Victorian hourglass corset, which shrunk the woman’s waist ...view middle of the document...
We construct the perfect self by picking up traits society wants to see. Csikszentmihalyi states in his essay, “What Is the Self?” that human perfection has been promoted throughout history and perfection is part of our nature (274). The idea of the perfect body hasn’t just evolved recently; it has been a part of the construction of selfhood for many centuries. People worry more about conforming to society’s image than being themselves nowadays, which takes a toll on individuals mentally because they might not be able to live up to society’s standards. Some individuals will try anything in order to look good. Individuals base their idea of the perfect body off of magazines and fitness ads such as Muscle and Fitness or Vogue; what they don’t know is that most of these models weren’t blessed with great bodies but that they worked hard to look the way they do and fitness and beauty doesn’t come easily.
Viewers and consumers of magazines and fitness ads try to achieve their dream body if they don’t already have it. It’s in our human nature to try to be fit because being out of shape isn’t what attracts the opposite sex. That’s the overall goal, to look appealing to the opposite sex and to make the same sex envy your body. Unfortunately, this idea is now believed to be one of the only ways that individuals will find their soul mate or life partner, and that is through being physically attractive at first sight. This is a big reason as to why being fit has become the main desire of society and it is becoming a rapidly growing problem in our world. Kayhan, Baig, Mehmi and Basra state that body image is the main crisis in most young males and females today:
The media's influence on our perception of body images has become one of the most significant crisis's in the lives of young males and females. The sources of mass media… manipulate society through unrealistic or unhealthy thin body images that paint the picture of perfection of what true beauty should be.
Even though body image issues have an effect on the ideas of women, this theory doesn’t specify the effect the media has on males in terms of being muscular and lean. When it comes to body images, males want to be buff and stronger because that is what establishes their dominance. Muscular men receive more respect than skinny men because muscles and strength exemplify supremacy and strike fear into those that are around them. Fitness enthusiast who are willing to make major changes to their body also have to make major changes to their lifestyle, which can be both positive and negative. Michelle Healy states in her article, “Teens eager to get buff try multiple means for Muscle,” that it’s common for teenagers to turn to diet, exercising, supplements, and even steroids in order to achieve or surpass their body development goals (Healy).
The media uses representations in order to get their models to look the best they can. Eagles guitar player Glenn Fry was featured in an advertisement for...